What is Digital and Social Media and why do I need it? It’s really just a new way to interact with prospects and customers when they are not in the store. And you need to do that because most customers now prefer to gather information and consider options online before coming to the store. So, if your dealership is the one engaging people online, you will be able to start building the rapport and trust that used to occur only once the prospect arrived in store.
The important implication of this reality is that if prospects do not find your business helpful, engaging, and trustworthy during their visit to your website (or the other places you hang out online), you are unlikely to get to meet them in person at your store. Recent research suggests that the average car shopper now visits only 1.4 dealerships during their buying process. Digital and social media are the keys to putting your dealership at the top of the list.
Other ways that social and digital media can be used to build and grow a sustainable business include the ability to be “found by prospects” as they navigate the internet as well as to get in front of your “ideal prospects” and engage with them by demonstrating how your business is aligned with their interests and causes. And, we can’t forget your business reputation. Now that most people have a smartphone, getting and managing online reviews from happy customers can have a significant impact on your business. If you get it wrong, the impact can be negative.
I should mention that I am a convert to digital marketing as I’m one who practiced traditional marketing in the corporate world for many years and then transitioned to digital marketing and communications in recent years. The big difference in the two is that traditional marketing was largely a one-way communication system while using the digital and social media tools now available makes it possible to have a two-way conversation with customers and prospects. And using digital media tools properly is the most efficient and effective way to have those two-way conversations across a large number of people.
As can be seen in this survey of business executives by MarketingCharts.com, regarding their 2015 planned marketing expenditures by channel, social/digital media is where an increased weighting of the available dollars are being directed. If you are not organized to move your message to where your customers and prospects are hanging out, you are likely to find it harder to locate them and bring them to your store.